Clive David and TomLouise Bleriot first crossed the Channel in a powered plane in 1909 to win the £1000 Daily Mail prize in a time of 46 minutes. Jump forward 106 years and another record breaking Channel crossing took place, this time from Lydd to Calais, when at 9.15 the new Airbus E Fan took off and crossed the channel in a time of just under 35 minutes. However the flight, which was meant to be a first, was upstaged just 12 hours earlier when a French pilot in a tiny one-seater plane has beaten aviation giant Airbus in the race to fly an electric-powered plane across the English Channel, pipping them to the post by a matter of hours.
In a fashion very similar to those magnificent men in there flying machines and a throw back the early days of aviation, Hugues Duval flew from Calais, France to England and back in a Cri Cri plane on Thursday night, hours before Airbus’ planned flight of the E-Fan 2.0 prototype in the opposite direction stealing the thunder from the mighty multi national company.
A spokesman at Lydd commented to The Looker; “It seems that yes we have been beaten to the record by Hugues, however we are taking the first step in what will be a major development plan to introduce electric flight to commercial aviation, and whilst it would have been nice fan 2e to claim to have crossed the Channel first, we take these things in our stride, and look at the bigger picture”.
After The Looker publicised the event over 200 people attended the airport to witness the take off of the new generation plane, which Airbus see as the first step in fully fledged electric commercial flight within the next 25 years.
Local dignitaries attended the event along with the worlds media, Leader of Shepway District Council David Monk told The Looker; “This really is a historic day, not only for aviation, but also for Lydd, the airport is proving to prove detractors wrong and is starting to make a real impact, with the new Air Sea Rescue unit being based here and with the new hanger under construction, there is a real feeling that big things are ahead for the airport”.
Several local people attended the event including some who live right in the flight line of the airport, Brian Beard said; “This really is a big day in the history of aviation, silent flight has got to be better for everyone”.